Unofficial National Dish: Chilli Crab

As Singapore’s unofficial national dish, you don’t need me to tell you that the Chilli Crab is a delicious dish… But I’m going to give you all the details anyway!  Don’t be worry, it’s not super spicy.  The dish is stir-fry crab in a gravy of tomato and egg gravy, with just a hint of spiciness. Unlike hairy crabs in Shanghai, the crabs used are fairly large with a shell that’s manageable.

Chilli crabs are a messy affair. Be prepared to get your hands dirty and maybe wear an outfit you won’t mind getting splattered in sauce. Some places provide you with a handy bib, but your clothes aren’t guaranteed to be safe behind those bibs!

Even for those who aren’t a fan of crab, I strongly recommend trying the dish! The gravy is the best part and you can dip the fried buns into the delicious gravy. The gravy is slightly spicy but a perfect balance of sweet and savory.

Here are my recommendations on where to get chilli crab:

  1. Jumbo has you covered and provides bibs! Jumbo tends to be less traditional of the bunch. The chain has been around since 1987 and have perfected their taste to cater a little more to tourists, but that’s not to say the dish isn’t delicious. If you love the taste of Jumbo chilli crab, they sell a pre-made paste so you can try your hand at the famous chilli crab.
  2. Long Beach has a more local and traditional flavor. The flavors are a little spicier at Long Beach, but quite honestly I prefer the pepper crab at Long Beach than the chilli crab.
  3. Red House was actually the first to pair the crab gravy with mantou fried buns and other restaurants quickly adopted this ingenious pairing. I don’t know what they do here, but the gravy at Red House has an extra kick at the end. Your lips will be burning at the end, but well worth it.
  4. No Signboard has a very flavorful chilli crab and very fast and efficient service. I personally haven’t been here myself but heard mixed reviews after asking around. People think the seafood is tasty and the chilli crab gravy yummy but the service leaves a lot to be desired.No Signboard started as a seafood stall at a hawker center and its name originated from its lack of… a signboard. One differentiating factor is that you can dictate the level of spiciness.

I’ve only gone to all the big flagship chilli crab restaurants so I’m going to look around for local restaurants too. Any recommendations?



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